French in Martinique

Household Goods

A person buying goods at a souvenir shop

When shopping in Martinique, it is always appreciated when a customer says both hello and goodbye to the shopkeeper, preferably in French. However, if one does not speak French, a friendly greeting in any language will do. To foreigners who do speak French, it may be a surprise to be addressed frequently in the familiar form of the second person (tu). In the very relaxed and friendly atmosphere of Martinique, it is the norm for shop attendants and vendors to use this form, and no offense should be taken.

Particularly in Fort de France, there is a fine array of haute couture boutiques and other relatively fancy stores. There are also several malls which feature the finest in French and European chain clothing stores.

There are no flea markets or antique open markets in Martinique. In the summer though, there are numerous exhibitions and opportunities for the island’s artists and artisans to display and sell paintings, sculptures, jewelry and other handmade crafts. One can find hand-woven baskets, pottery, handmade drums, objects made from gourds, finely woven cloth, and occasionally even examples of traditional Creole dresses, which can be specially made to order. It is not unusual to see vendors at the beach selling food and drink as well as hand-made crafts.

Furniture and household goods are sold at various chain stores. One can shop for computers and other electronic products in the malls or specialized stores around the island.
A tourist’s best bet for shopping inexpensively is to shop on the beach or at small shops owned by independent sellers.